69 / 51
      70 / 48
      59 / 50

      Who will be the next mayor of Columbia?

      COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - The people of Columbia packed the Eau Claire Print Building to receive answers from three candidates running for mayor.

      The candidatesâ?? answering these questions in the mayoral forum included Councilman Moe Baddourah, Larry Synpolt, and Mayor Steve Benjamin, who is up for re-election.

      Some citizens touched on the strong mayor referendum while others in attendance questioned the plans each mayoral candidate had in regards to public safety, like when a new police chief is going to be hired. A subject Councilman Baddourah felt strongly about.

      "It's our duty as a policy maker," said Baddourah. "We owe you to hire a police chief."

      With a new police chief, Baddourah feels he or she could alleviate problems facing the Columbia community.

      However, what about the pay for public safety officers? Mayor Steve Benjamin says those who keep us safe make the ultimate sacrifice, which needs to be respected.

      "We will be pushing for a full comp and class study for out police officers and our firefighters to make sure they are paid like the professionals they are," said Benjamin.

      In addition to pay raises and a potential police chief, questions about crime scene policies were also answered.

      "I really don't know of any state law that allows anyone besides the police officers inside the crime scene tape," said Larry Synpolt. "That's neither here nor there; because we don't need to be on the outside of the tape, so let the police chief run his department."

      Many suggestions from the candidates to better the city of Colombia., with the ultimate vote left up to the citizens of Columbia on November 5th, 2013.

      If you have any questions about the upcoming election, log onto